Nostalgia can be a powerful thing. You can't smell a new box of crayons without immediately thinking of the coloring books and classroom projects of your youth. You can probably still remember the sound of a sticky and squeaky bouncy house from a friend's birthday party. It's no surprise, then, that a lot of parents-to-be look back to the fond times of their younger years when considering names for their little one. In fact, there are plenty of baby names inspired by the fairy tale heroines from your favorite childhood stories.
One of the positive aspects of children's stories is that they almost always have an optimistic underlying message. And, no, I'm not talking about the original, often brutal Grimm's brother's tales. So what better way to instill a sense of wonder, adventure, and hope in your child than to give them a moniker inspired by an incredible fairy tale character?
Fairy tales aren't just for girls, either. All children can take away lessons about gender equality, the value of friendship, and working together to overcome obstacles from some of the favorite books you read growing up. So check out these baby names inspired by cool fairy tale heroines and I bet you'll feel like a kid again, too.
1. Ailbhe From 'Snow White'
In the original fairy tale, Snow White doesn't need to be kissed by a prince to wake up. She actually is awakened when the piece of poisoned apple dislodges from her throat. She shows that nothing can keep her down and who doesn't love that?
Ailbhe, an Irish name meaning "noble or bright," is pronounced "AL-vyah" and can be used for either a boy or a girl. It's a little non-traditional, but definitely sounds beautiful and has a great story behind it.
2. Kallo From "Kallo and the Goblins"
This fairy tale comes from ancient Greece and tells the story of older sister, Marbo, who resented younger sister, Kallo, and made her do all the work. When goblins come to attack, Kallo survives by solely using her clever wit to outsmart them.
Kallo, from the ancient Greek, means "beauty." Again, this name is unisex but traditionally has been used for girls.
3. Ella From "Cinderella"
Though there are several variations and different origins of this classic tale, one theme is consistent throughout them all. Cinderella, or cinder Ella in some versions, is able to survive horrible treatment and find her happy ending after all. A classic rags to riches story.
Ella is typically a name used for girls, but you could easily change it to Eli for a boy. Ella, which means "all, above all" in old German, and Eli, which means "ascended" in Hebrew, are equally uplifting.
4. The Miller's Daughter From "Rumpelstiltskin"
Though the miller's daughter is never named in this story, she is certainly the heroine in the fairy tale. The miller lies to the king saying his daughter can turn straw into gold and consequently she is held captive and told to perform the task or face punishment. Rumpelstiltskin appears and offers to turn straw into gold if she ultimately gives him her firstborn. She outsmarts him by guessing his name and is finally free.
Since the daughter isn't named, you can take some creative license here. For a boy, you could use Midas, the mythical Greek king who turned everything he touched into gold. For a girl, you can use Zarina, an African name which means "golden."
5. Red From "Little Red Riding Hood"
Again, a story where the main girl isn't named, Little Red Riding Hood famously braves several scary situations involving a villainous wolf. Though some versions don't have the happiest endings, most show that she indeed survives her encounter with the wolf.
Playing on the color of the title character's hood, you could go with Garnet, Scarlet, Ruby, or Cheyenne for your daughter, Adam, Clancy, or Russel for your daugter, and Flannery, Shani, or Phoenix for a unisex option, all of which mean "red."
6. Holle From "Frau Holle"
In an old Germanic tale that bears similarity to "Cinderella," a stepdaughter of an evil woman, with an equally awful daughter, is forced to do all the labor until she stumbles upon the home of Frau Holle. In many Nordic legends, Frau Holle is seen almost as a fairy godmother with a status close to being a deity. Holle rewards the stepdaughter with gold and punishes the the lazy daughter. It harkens back to a time when females were just as, if not more, powerful in myths and fairytales.
Holle means "beloved" in German but can also be modified to the more traditional spelling of Holly.
7. Ariel from "The Little Mermaid"
In the original Danish version by Hans Christian Andersen, Ariel doesn't end up with the prince and dies, yet she is given a second chance and immortality by transforming into a "daughter of the air."
Ariel is actually a unisex name and means "lion of God" in Hebrew. You could also shorten it to Ari for a fun twist on the original moniker.